Macedonia | November 30

God's Path to Peace

Ilija

When I was in my 20s, I was a professional musician, one of the best in Macedonia. I played with some of the best singers and bands in the country. My family was rich, and life was easy. Then our family fortune failed, and we lost our house. I developed health problems and had no peace. 

I left Macedonia and went to Canada, looking for happiness. I married a Serbian girl, and we settled down. I found work performing for weddings, and eventually made enough money to buy a home and a restaurant. But then my wife left me, and I grew despondent. I gambled away my money and lost everything. I returned to Macedonia in search of peace, but I didn’t find it. I sensed that my problems were the result of witchcraft, so I attended some séances and visited fortunetellers. Things only became worse.

New Friend, New Hope

One day I was invited to travel to Australia and play in some concerts. There I met Petko, a fellow Macedonian musician, and we became friends. Petko was different; he talked about Jesus and God. I knew little about God, so I listened. He asked to read the Ten Commandments to me, and I agreed. When he read the fourth commandment, I stopped him and asked him what “Sabbath” meant. Petko explained that Sabbath was the seventh day, Saturday. This was strange to me, and Petko didn’t know a lot more than I did, so he offered to introduce me to Trifun [TEE-foon], a friend of his. “He knows lots more about the Bible than I do,” Petko offered.

When I met Trifun, I told him I found it difficult to believe that God exists or that He cared about me. “Jesus cares so much about you that He died for you—and all the people in the world,” Trifun said.

“But I’m not a good person,” I answered. “I’ve done a lot of bad things, things I’m sure God won’t forgive me for.”

“There is no sin too great for God to forgive if you believe in Jesus and repent,” Trifun replied.

Trifun gave me a book on the life of Christ to read. “If you don’t understand something, ask God to explain,” he said. I read the book, and it changed my life.

Difficult Journey

I began meeting regularly with Trifun, Petko, and his wife to learn about God and the Bible. I began attending a wonderful church in Sydney with them, and studied the Bible with the pastor. But my journey toward truth was not all smooth. The devil tried his hardest to distract me, to keep me from praying and studying the Bible. Every evening as I read the Bible, demons tortured me. I couldn’t sleep.

One night God spoke to me and told me to leave the world behind and follow Him. I fasted and prayed, like the Bible says. The pastor and other church members prayed for me until the demons fled, leaving me alone after years of torment. I continued my studies with the pastor, and two months later I was baptized into the Adventist Church. I played my clarinet for the ceremony—my testimony of how God had changed me.

New Life

God called me back to Macedonia. It was difficult to find my place at first, but I shared what God was doing in my life with anyone who would listen. My mother and sister listened. They saw the difference Christ was making in my life, and they both accepted Jesus as their Savior. 

My former friends had nothing in common with me anymore. I tried to share what God was doing in my life, and some listened. Others turned away. God led me to a wonderful woman who is now my wife. I’m studying to become a Bible worker. 

I’m leading a house church in a resort city here in Macedonia. We’re sharing literature and offering people Bible studies. It is not always easy, but God sends us to people who are hungry for the gospel. Thousands of people come to this city every year to relax. We want to introduce them to God and send them home totally changed.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build an evangelistic center in this city, a beacon of light on a hill, where people can come to learn more about God. It will be a true missionary center, a place to train Adventists from all over Macedonia to share God’s love and be lights for Him in this dark world. From here we will share the news that that Jesus can change their lives, just as He changed mine.

© 2012-13 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. All rights reserved. www.adventistmission.org | Sitemap | Report a problem